United States of America – Stuck in Customs

Posing for Instagram in a snowstorm

Social Dilemma Trailer

This is a great show to watch on Netflix… I’ve known about this stuff for a long time and wrote a lot about it in my book – and I’m glad this is going more mainstream now. Here’s the trailer for ya:

Daily Photo – Posing for Instagram in a snowstorm

I love watching people freeze off their fingers just to get the perfect shot for Instagram. It’s such a weird thing in a way… I guess it’s not the end of the world. At least she’s not in a bikini. Speaking of Instagram, be sure to check out the trailer above.

Posing for Instagram in a snowstorm

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2019-01-13 15:55:52
  • CameraPixel 3 XL
  • Camera MakeGoogle
  • Exposure Time1/560
  • Aperture1.8
  • ISO55
  • Focal Length4.4 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

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Los Angeles with Brandin Cooks

Becoming Nobody Trailer

Here is a new documentary I’m really enjoying… check out the trailer and go watch it at https://becomingnobody.com.

Daily Photo – Los Angeles with Brandin Cooks

The last time I went to LA, I had a fun day with Brandin Cooks to head out to downtown to take some cool photos in some favorite spots. Brandin played for the Rams at the time and he has a super nice car, as you might imagine. We were pretty worried about parking it random spots in downtown LA that we might get attacked or something. I wasn’t worried… I figure I had Brandin to protect me! 🙂

Los Angeles with Brandin Cooks

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2019-06-11 01:14:57
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time4
  • Aperture3.2
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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Batman Blue Gotham City

Daily Photo – Batman Blue Gotham City

From my somewhat extensive knowledge of comics, I believe that Gotham City is based on a parallel universe version of New York City. In the comics and movies, Batman always has a bit of a blue tone, so sometimes I like to shoot New York using the tungsten or incandescent settings to get the same sort of look.

Batman Blue Gotham City

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2019-06-20 00:08:43
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time8
  • Aperture4
  • ISO250
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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Best of: Yellowstone

Continuing the Best Of series, here we go into Yellowstone!

A Soft Summer Night in the Marsh My shoes have never been the same since I started tromping through this muck.  That part didn't bother me so much, but I was a little worried that I wouldn't be able to make a hasty escape if something started running after me.  I didn't see anything that would start a chase... there was a herd of about 14 elk about 300 meters away.  I had never seen them stampede randomly in the direction of a photographer, so I felt kinda good about that.  Remember, all of these were just half-fleeting thoughts that were only half-baked...  I was mostly just peacefully staring at the sunset and listening to my iPod alone in the wilderness.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Long Road in MontanaThis is the road I got stuck on after my 4-wheeler caught on fire.  Now, of course, I had all my photography equipment with me... who wouldn't take a whole host of photo equipment on a 4-wheeler joyride?  I don't know!  I mean, you gotta be ready just in case the dang thing catches on fire!- Trey RatcliffRead more, including some info on how to snag a Google+ invite, here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Morning. Coffee. Yellowstone. Fog. My poor family.  I dragged them all out of bed at 5 AM and put them in the car so I could go take this photo.  I did load up on plenty of coffee to keep things fresh and warm on this cool morning, but my kids zonked out in the back of the car anyway.  Well, if they're not asleep, they're whining, "Dad???  You stopping again!" ... I rush out the door and trail off, muttering into the wind, "Yes but art must be made, you see..."This spot is not too far from the entrance to West Yellowstone.  The warm water that comes from the earth mixes with the cool morning sky.  It creates a surreal layer of fog that simply rests on top of the river.  It flows up, around, and through the neighboring trees.  It reminds me of the dry ice that comes out of cauldrons on Halloween.To take this shot, I set up with a tripod and grabbed 7 exposures from +3 to -3.  I always anchor at even zero for these "sun shots."  I also set up for matrix metering, since you can't figure out where in the dynamic range to hang your spot.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

A View With my Coffee Thank God McDonald's opened around 5 AM!I woke up just before to put on my photo-ninja outfit to be sure to get the sunrise in Yellowstone. Once you are in the park, there’s not a lot of food or drink options, and it’s not a good idea to take a bag o’ food out into the wild. But, it was a good idea to stop at McDonald's in West Yellowstone to get a giant coffee.The rivers in Yellowstone are fed by both rain and geothermal sources, so the water is a bit more warm than you would expect. The cool mornings, even in July, brings fresh steam off the tops. Once the sun finally comes up, it gives everything a golden hue.I know that many of you have used my World of Textures Tutorial (thanks!) to try some different things with your photography. I still do this a lot too. Obviously, I did it here as well, and used three different textures to achieve this.Tomorrow, stay tuned for a new video that shot while at another location in Yellowstone. I gave a sneak peak of it to people that got the Newsletter… I tried to set low expectations, and that seemed to work because people liked it! Ah well… let me try to reset low expectations… it’s not that good.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

The Atomic Explosion and Mushroom Fallout at Sunset If you want to see how I made this (and how you can too!), visit my HDR Tutorial. I hope it gives you some new tricks!I think about all the sunsets I miss. I always seem to be out and about somewhere, noticing a great sunset whilst noticing that I am not even close to my camera and tripod. It's just unacceptable!This day and evening I was in Yellowstone alone. I had just seen a grizzly bear and a black bear about 30 minutes before this shot, both of which are pretty rare to see. They went on their way and I was left in the middle of this area with just a few elk meandering a few hundred feet from me. I tried to not get overly "sucked into" the sunset, trying to remember those bears that were lurking about. The ground was pretty marshy here, so I was not in optimal conditions for running from a bear.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

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Great Meditation

I’ve always loved listening to Mooji and I just recently found out he was on Russell Brand’s show. Here’s a meditation he did while on there:

Best of: New York City!

I have a ton of photos of the city, so it’s extra hard to choose the favorites… so these aren’t really favorites… just a lucky dip!

The Vessel in New York City

The Movie Set of New York City I shot this from the Google offices in Manhattan a few weeks ago. Luke and I ended up staying up late at the offices, and we wanted to wait until the sunset rolled through… and when sunset finally came, we discovered that we could not even go outside! All the windows and doors had been nailed shut by security, so there was no chance of getting out. Instead, I had to commandeer a conference room and turn out all the lights so I could get a clean shot out the window.Over on the left side, you can just see the edge of the Brooklyn Bridge.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Walking In New York City

walking alone and being somewhat lost on which way

The Stars Above Grand Central Station I took this photo a few moments before getting kicked out for using a tripod. They said I could go sign up for a permit, but I told them I could not be bothered. I wasn’t mean about it, just sort of matter-of-fact. I asked if women with strollers needed to get a permit or men with canes, and they said of course not.I would like to make a tripod that attached to a baby stroller. In fact, instead of the baby, I could put all my camera gear down there. So it could be a rolling camera-bag-stroller with tripod attachment. It would look crazy, but it would be kind of awesome too.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

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Machine Elf 36 – Open Heart

Here’s the latest! Machine Elf 36 – Open Heart. I remember laying out in the white sands of the desert at Burning Man on my back in the middle of the afternoon, looking at the sun and blue sky. I was thinking about 1,000 different things and not thinking of them at the same time. Yes, I might have been on acid, but that’s beside the point. Well, not really, because, soon enough, I heard this song “Burning Sun” by Monolink playing about half a mile away from an art car… the sounds vibrated out the desert where I was hearing them… I remember what I saw and I’ve tried to recreate it here.

For more Machine Elf creations and to find out how to watch them in 360 VR, check out the website!

Best of: Austin!

And next up is the Best of Austin shots! Well, I’m not sure these are the absolute best, but there are few winners in here I haven’t thought about in a while.

trey-ratcliff-austin-photowalk (117 of 624)

The Wolfman Violinith Here’s my favorite photo from the Austin Photowalk … one of the many street performers howls into the streetlight moon… - Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

A Sunset on a Texas Farm This photo was shot about two hours outside of Austin in a little town called Brady.  You'd like it.  They have a Sonic there.  This was a 5-exposure HDR shot at f/16.  This kept everything in focus and kept the shutter open long enough to let the clouds drag across the sensor.  In these conditions, you don’t have a lot of time to fool around because the sun is bookin’ it towards the horizon.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

The State Capitol of Texas at Dusk I went down on Saturday evening to do some shooting around Austin and caught the capitol around sunset.  There are all kinds of interesting things about the Texas capitol, like this cool underground Illuminati chamber you can see here, but the one thing that all Texans seem to know is that our capitol is 14 feet taller than the one in D.C.  This is a source of pride for Texans, along with the cool and trivial fact that we maintain, in our state constitution, the right to secede from the Union.The capitol is made out of this pink granite, and it gets a little pinker at night at soon as they turn on the lights, especially against the blue sky.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

The Pennybacker Bridge This place is right by my house…. I really have no excuse for not going up here almost every night! It takes less than 10 minutes to drive and hike up here… sometimes I actually feel bad about my laziness in this area.It’s usually not too crowded up here. Maybe a couple or two will sit and watch the sunset. It’s a bit dangerous – a sharp cliff that drops off into the freeway on one side and the water on the other.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

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Best Of: San Francisco

Continuing with the best-of situation, here are some of my favorite photos of San Francisco!

Exploring San Francisco from Above From on top of Twin Peaks in San Francisco, a good zoom lens when the fog rolls in can get a little crazy! The fog glows orange-red with all the lights and it feels a bit… apocalyptic. I took about 20 shots of this, and the fog would creep around this way and that. They all looked interesting, but in the end, I liked this one the best.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

A Dishonest Image of San Francisco And with this image, I am once again launching full-out-assault on the hallowed traditions of photography. You know what I did with this image? I post-processed it! Oh yes, I really did. And I had so much fun doing it… at least as much fun as Dexter in his kill room.I guess if I was to be really “honest” and take a photo of San Francisco and keep with the tradition of the greats of photography, it would have to be black and white photo, right? I mean, the world really is black and white, isn’t it? Oh wait, no… it’s in color. Wait, now I’m confused.Oh no, look what I’ve done now. I’ve gone and upset people that think one form of artistic expression is superior to another form of artistic expression. How could I be so callous and open with my thoughts and techniques?- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

A Great Day at the Google HQ! Wow that was a cool experience.  Those guys and gals over there are super-nice.  You never know...  I guess maybe Google seems somewhat intimidating from the outside, but after I met guys like Cliff, Brian, and Chip -- I felt right at home.I gave an hour-long talk in one of their theaters there.  It was super-packed and people were standing all around because seats were gone.  We were graced with the presence of one Sara Jane Todd from @Peachpit to help out selling books - and we sold out!  Also, my Brazilian friend Fabio, the editor of Abduzeedo was there too, so it was great to see him.The Authors@Google (video link) program has a neat deal where they subsidize books, so Googlers don't have to pay full price.  I saw all kinds of cool stuff and took a lot of pics.  I have to get most cleared with Google Corp Comms before I can release... but I nabbed shots of a spaceship, a new pseudo-holodeck, and more mysteries await!  We even got to eat lunch there in the Google cafeteria, which had some of the most excellent food I've ever had in such a setting... they even have a small organic farm on the campus... well, I could go on and on...  but I was very impressed and happy to meet so many enthusiastic people!The video should be done in the next 2-3 weeks or so.  We've got good-man Brian at Google slaving away on editing the whole thing together!- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Beautiful San Francisco I just got back from a crazy three days in San Francisco. The trip included everything from visits to Google, YouTube, Facebook, breakfast with Scoble, Smugmug, Microsoft at a Calacanis event (where the upcoming app WON Audience Choice!), then finally a PhotoWalk in SF with Thomas Hawk. It was completely exhausting, but very fun. After the Facebook talk, I headed to downtown San Francisco with Tom Anderson to get this photo. It was a great night!- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

The Inner Sanctum Here is a cool and relatively unknown place in San Francisco.  Can anyone figure out where this mysterious location is?I went in here with my dad while we were looking for cool photo-ops.  We weren't so sure we were allowed in this place, but we just busted in quickly for a shot before anybody said anything.- Trey Ratcliff Read more here at stuckincustoms.com.

...and the SF Giants!I was down on the field with the SF Giants before a recent game. I got down there because Tom Anderson sent out a tweet, and the marketing manager for the SF Giants responded and got us in! So, we were able to go anywhere and do anything before and during the game. It was great! I made full use of it.I had my giant D800 Camera out there (see the Nikon D800 Review for more baseball photos from that evening).After I left the field, I went to the very very very top part of the nosebleeds to take this shot...- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this entry at the Stuck in Customs blog.

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Exploring Yellowstone

And Here is the Best of Yellowstone…

The Old Wild Stampede These horses  came thundering onto the scene while I was walking down the road.  I got myself behind a tree so I would not get trampled like Mufasa.  I was lucky that they started kicking up dust in the right position relative to the sun so that their legs cast shadows through the cloud.  I can't take credit for that one!- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.
The Morning Steam Through the Forest in Yellowstone I woke up just before 5 AM today so I could get out there and do some sunrise shooting.  It was a great morning and I found all kinds of interesting spots.  I drove by a bank of trees that had some steam from a nearby river flowing through them... and it looked so cool that I hiked around the forest to find a nice configuration of trees and steamy fog.I was exhausted after shooting most of the day.  I drove over the the Firehole River to have a swim.  There was no one else around, and I didn't have a swimsuit, so I just went in my undies.  This seemed like a great idea until my underwear ripped on a rock.  This, combined with very sensitive feet that make me look crazy when walking on a rocky shore, made for quite a scene.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.
An Evening Stroll Around the Cabin I've had a wonderful week here in Montana.  I've been lucky enough to be invited to this private conference here in Yellowstone.  We get together and talk about science, art, and Libertarianism...  It's a very cool and interesting collection of people!A few nights ago, I took a dusk walk around the main cabin.  The horses come graze all around the meadow in the evening... I finally convinced one of them to stand still for a bit.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.
A View With my Coffee Thank God McDonald's opened around 5 AM!I woke up just before to put on my photo-ninja outfit to be sure to get the sunrise in Yellowstone. Once you are in the park, there’s not a lot of food or drink options, and it’s not a good idea to take a bag o’ food out into the wild. But, it was a good idea to stop at McDonald's in West Yellowstone to get a giant coffee.The rivers in Yellowstone are fed by both rain and geothermal sources, so the water is a bit more warm than you would expect. The cool mornings, even in July, brings fresh steam off the tops. Once the sun finally comes up, it gives everything a golden hue.I know that many of you have used my World of Textures Tutorial (thanks!) to try some different things with your photography. I still do this a lot too. Obviously, I did it here as well, and used three different textures to achieve this.Tomorrow, stay tuned for a new video that shot while at another location in Yellowstone. I gave a sneak peak of it to people that got the Newsletter… I tried to set low expectations, and that seemed to work because people liked it! Ah well… let me try to reset low expectations… it’s not that good.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.
A Soft Summer Night in the Marsh My shoes have never been the same since I started tromping through this muck.  That part didn't bother me so much, but I was a little worried that I wouldn't be able to make a hasty escape if something started running after me.  I didn't see anything that would start a chase... there was a herd of about 14 elk about 300 meters away.  I had never seen them stampede randomly in the direction of a photographer, so I felt kinda good about that.  Remember, all of these were just half-fleeting thoughts that were only half-baked...  I was mostly just peacefully staring at the sunset and listening to my iPod alone in the wilderness.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.
Morning. Coffee. Yellowstone. Fog. My poor family.  I dragged them all out of bed at 5 AM and put them in the car so I could go take this photo.  I did load up on plenty of coffee to keep things fresh and warm on this cool morning, but my kids zonked out in the back of the car anyway.  Well, if they're not asleep, they're whining, "Dad???  You stopping again!" ... I rush out the door and trail off, muttering into the wind, "Yes but art must be made, you see..."This spot is not too far from the entrance to West Yellowstone.  The warm water that comes from the earth mixes with the cool morning sky.  It creates a surreal layer of fog that simply rests on top of the river.  It flows up, around, and through the neighboring trees.  It reminds me of the dry ice that comes out of cauldrons on Halloween.To take this shot, I set up with a tripod and grabbed 7 exposures from +3 to -3.  I always anchor at even zero for these "sun shots."  I also set up for matrix metering, since you can't figure out where in the dynamic range to hang your spot.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.
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Best Of: California!

And here are some favorite photos from California! Enjoy!

Moonrise Kingdom

Girl Running in Santa MonicaThis is the first photo I got during the LA PhotoWalk. After I was on the steps and gave my little speech-thing, I went down right to the water's edge to see what I could find. This little girl was running up the beach to her dad, so I grabbed a quick one while I talked through the shot for the crowd. I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out, since everything was unplanned.- Trey RatcliffRead the entire post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Burning Through the Deserts of Death Valley This was my first real experience in a proper desert. The thing that surprised me most was the blast of hot air that kept rushing into my face. I was only here in Death Valley for a few days, so I’m not exactly an expert in deserts. But, while I was there, a nonstop wind full of hot, wet, heat that was pounding into me. The “wet” part was the most interesting… it did not feel as dry as I expected.The other thing I noticed is that walking up these sand dunes is not as easy as it is in video games.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

The Fog You Can Only See Through From Above

The Rock Moved So Slowly That I Did Not Notice

The Fog You Can Only See Through From Above

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The Path to The Man

Burning Man Survival Guide

Be sure to check out my newly converted survival guide here on the blog (thanks Stu and also the team at Pressable for the conversion!) or on the original Adobe Spark site.

Daily Photo – The Path to The Man

I took this a few years ago but only recently edited it. I was able to fly the drone a lot easier a few years ago, but they have become more and more strict. In fact, they are so strict, that I don’t even try anymore. I don’t ask to be a special case or anything… It seems to go against the ethos of Burning Man to ask to be a special case. Although, if they sent me an email on their own and offered it, I would not turn it down!

The Path to The Man

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2014-08-30 14:46:17
  • CameraPHANTOM VISION FC200
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/8000
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length5.0 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

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